“Where do I go from here?” – “A Place to Hideaway” and other wistful songs…
Karen Carpenter sings it perfectly … her voice so eloquently shares my wistful wondering … “tell me where do I go from here? You said you’d take me through the years, so where do I go from here?”
I have, on Facebook and more permanently here on a special blog page in his memory, posted a link to a song nearly each day since Rick’s death … for many weeks they were songs that echoed our courtship, marriage, life’s challenges and successes and our happily ever after years. More recently the songs I’ve been posting reflect the steady sadness that has become my ‘new normal.’
My purpose in posting those early songs was to share the rich happiness Rick and I found in each other’s company; Rick was a strong presence in my life, but a quiet, unrecognized kindness in others’. I wanted the whole world to realize what we and they had lost in losing Rick so suddenly. It was inconceivable that he should pass so suddenly and quietly from this earth. He was so much … and did so much, and gave so much … never expecting anything in return from others, and often receiving just that.
In perusing you tube for songs by our favorite artists from the fifties, sixties and seventies, I’ve come across a few that I don’t recall hearing back then. But perhaps I did hear them, but didn’t connect with them because my life at the time was in a different phase … today my life is very different than it has ever been. I am alone … never have I been alone before … I am never physically alone, as friends and family stay in touch with me, and visit me, or call or email me … but I am alone in my identity.
For the first portion of my life, I was one of many … when I was old enough to realize that my name spelled out “There’s a Crawford” I knew it fit my persona … I was just one of many Crawfords. When I moved from an all girl urban downtown parochial school that no one else in my family had ever attended to a small town public high school mid-way through, I had no identity … I was a true blank page, in a place where most had grown up together with friends as classmates, I could be anyone I wanted to be, and no one would be the wiser. I could be invisible, and no one would be worried or looking for me.
But when I met Rick, and we became friends and later a happily married couple, I knew who I was. He called me ‘his Lady.’ I was a singular identity … no one else filled that role. I knew what we planned, what we had and what we would need to achieve in order to meet our goals, and I set about becoming the person I became. It was hard work … physically, emotionally, academically and financially I worked hard to meet each challenge … sometimes walking home from high school and college … sometimes begging rides from neighbors and friends … Rick shared those plans and dreams with me, and worked as hard. We balanced each other well in strengths … what he could do I could not, and vice-versa. Together there wasn’t anything we could not do.
And when we retired we achieved our happily ever after. Our identities as son and daughter, and father and mother … each of those had taken strength and patience and strong faith, and each built confidence in ourselves and in each other. In retirement we were more simply husband and wife, and partners, and team mates, and still and always, friends deeply in love. And we knew what we had … we cherished those years each day one by one, unconsciously celebrating each one we had together, as though we knew an ending to that togetherness was just around a corner.
And now … I have to live into this new reality … no longer a wife … no longer a teacher, or a needed mother or grandmother … all others are grown and strong in their own lives. Each day still begins with an expectation that it will be lived, and something will be accomplished. There needs to be a plan, a dream, a goal to hold the focus on what it is waiting to be accomplished. I am without a plan. I rise and begin each day going through familiar motions … not because they are leading me toward a goal … but because each day must be lived in some way. The shop helps me fill some hours. Quilting with friends and young students helps fill some hours. Food shopping, laundry, bill-paying and Facebook fills many mundane, auto-pilot hours. There will still be family occasions … weddings, babies, showers … and more wakes and funerals will continue to compete with calendar days. But they will not be easily completed on auto-pilot. They will take their own measure of planning and attending, and holding a posture that will put others at ease and not invite commiseration or social coaching.
I will continue to walk this auto-path for as long as I need to … the new goal is to continue getting the beautiful fabrics into the hands of quilters who will make good use of them. The business plan is self-evident … running sales and discounts … advertising on Facebook’s many pages … encouraging others to take up or return to quilting by making it easier to get the fabrics and notions and lessons they desire… and when the bulk of the fabric and notions stock becomes depleted, it will be time to close that chapter … but not until the shop has little to nothing left to offer. And then … maybe then I’ll be able to rejoin Rick and continue that ‘ever after’ wherever he and I will be … together again.
“Dreams are for sleeping; love is for weeping; oh how I long to find a place to hideaway…” Karen Carpenter sings it so beautifully … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKs_fYrMMqk